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Post Iraq Emperor and Palestine
by Elson Boles
16 October 2002 20:06 UTC
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Will Bush's carve-up of Iraq include getting hands on its oil? 
By Robert Fisk Middle East Correspondent 
The Independent, 12 October 2002

There is no Emperor of Iraq - or is there? The problem for General Tommy
Franks - if he really does turn up in Baghdad to play the role of
General Douglas MacArthur - is that the one unifying, sovereign symbol
that held Japan together amid the ashes of nuclear defeat in 1945 was
the Emperor Hirohito, mysteriously absolved of all responsibility for
Japan's atrocities in the Second World War. His military underlings went
to the gallows on his behalf.

But in Iraq, the emperor is called Saddam Hussein and - if we are to
believe the US administration - the Caliph of Tikrit will be in the dock
along with the rest of Iraq's war criminals. General Franks will have to
combine the role of emperor and colonial governor - which is how
America's whole imperial adventure is likely to come unstuck.

What if the mosques defy American occupation? What if the Shia in the
south and Kurds in the north set up their own secret administrations?
Will the US arrest all the imams who preach against America's hegemony?

Immediately after the 1991 Gulf War, a large group of Iraqi opposition
figures met in Beirut to plan for a "new Iraq'', fondly and vainly
imagining Saddam would be gone within weeks. But within 24 hours the
opposition - including the most secular and liberal of Iraqi movements -
was announcing it would not allow foreign troops to contaminate what it
called "the sacred banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers''. At this
point, of course, the Americans lost all interest in this manifestation
of Iraq's opposition to Saddam Hussein.

In 1991, US troops occupied only a small part of southern Iraq. Does the
Bush administration think things will be any better if they occupy all
of Iraq?

Now it just might be that the Americans have an emperor in mind for
occupied Iraq, a member of the same Hashemite family that was long ago
awarded the throne of Baghdad - courtesy of Winston Churchill - as a
consolation prize for being chucked out of Damascus by the French.

The re-establishment of the Hashemite kingdom of Iraq would allow King
Abdullah of Jordan to combine his own penniless and vulnerable statelet
with the massive oil wealth of Iraq, albeit he will have to share the
latter with the equally massive American conglomerates run by President
Bush's chums.

And then it just might be that Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon,
whose ministers have spoken openly of "transferring'' the Palestinians
out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, will find the judicious moment
to "encourage'' the same Palestinians to leave their land for the new
Jordan. Has President Bush thought of this? Has it perhaps crossed the
minds of Israel's friends within the US administration?

King Abdullah of Jordan is one thing. King Abdullah of Iraq,
re-establishing Hashemite power over the Gulf, quite another. Even his
father, King Hussein, might have been tempted to contemplate such an
outcome. But would the Iraqis go along with this? Do they really want
another emperor? No wonder US officials talk of a slow journey to
democracy. Japan got its democracy in the end, of course. But Japan
didn't have oil.

Elson Boles
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Sociology
Saginaw Valley State University
University Center
Saginaw MI, 48710

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